making the jump
Six months ago I had the distinct feeling that I was at a turning point in my life. I have been active and physically fit all of my life and, along the way, have enjoyed long distance running, swimming, dance, touch rugby, pilates, netball, yoga and many other fun sports. However, as my forties loomed my chronic disease meant I was often in pain which meant that I could go days or weeks without doing any real exercise. This made me feel weak and miserable. At times, working could be a struggle. I didn't look sick or unhealthy but my pain could come on quickly and be really debilitating. This was made all the more distressing by my forced inability to plan my life and that of my family as I never knew when I was going to be laid up in bed. It made life unpredictable. I cancelled so many social events because of the pain that I lost count. This was detrimental to maintaining my friendships and an active social life, for obvious reasons. At times I had to flake out of plans with friends, which I hated. I missed my own 40th birthday party (luckily I remembered to cancel it beforehand!). I regard myself generally as a resilient person and have never been keen on being a victim. I came to realise that something had to change. I needed to take back my life. I wanted to feel fit and strong and powerful again, whatever form that took. I needed a plan.
Deep down I knew that the first step was to quit my job and take a career break. We have all read about the effects of long term stress on health. I am a firm believer that a certain amount of stress is positive; improving focus, effectiveness and productivity, but the prolonged stress that I was under, much of it self-inflicted, was having a detrimental effect on my physical health and holistic wellness, and I knew it. I loved my job, so it was not an easy decision to make. There seemed to be so many reasons not to quit. Obviously the main reason for hesitation was monetary. Was I totally crazy to even consider leaving such a well paid position? What about the mortgage, school fees, savings, investments, retirement? How the hell would I buy nice shoes? However, once Mr H and I had talked this through over several weeks, and worked out the details, I felt far more comfortable that it was a genuinely feasible option. We'd have to make some changes, but we were lucky to be in a position where it was possible. As for the shoes, I realised that I probably wouldn't need stilettos to do the school run. In all seriousness, I knew that I would need a change in mindset when it came to personal finances and I realised that the pay off would be so much more rewarding than some snazzy new Jimmy Choos. I decided to try to throw my innate cautiousness out of the window for the sake of my health and happiness. After all, I could always get another job as a lawyer. Couldn't I? Hubs and I decided that we would impose a soft timeline of a year, which seemed enough time to allow me to pursue a few personal projects, spend time with the kiddo and focus on getting my health back online. There was a lot to work out but, once I'd made my decision, I knew it was the right one. The sense of relief was enormous. Incredibly liberating. After that, there seemed to be so many options open to me. As the reality of having a whole year without lawyering began to sink in, I started to hatch a plan to pursue a passion that I have nurtured for many years but never done anything with. To be continued....
Has anyone else made the jump out of the corporate world to focus on their health, a passion project or just to catch their breath and re-energise? I would love to connect with you to hear about your experiences.
Photo by the lovely @lusticlife